The Trouble with Teacups

They sound so adorable: tiny teacups, babyface puppies or supermini (insert your favourite toy breed name here).

But these extra small dogs are really just a heartbreak waiting to happen. No responsible breeder would ever purposely breed down the size of her line; national organizations like the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club, set out breed standards which stipulate the ideal weight for toy dogs.

That means that a reputable breeder would not purposely sell dogs that are super-small. They are either from an unscrupulous breeder preying on your emotions, or a puppy mill!

tiny yorkshire terrier

What’s wrong with super small toy dogs?

Dogs bred to be small within one or two generations are the result of breeding runts with runts. Runts – undersized, sickly and poorly developed puppies – are of course not what you want for your loved pet.

Being too small can result in:

  • excessive shyness
  • cottony or woolly texture coat
  • overshot or undershot bite
  • poor digestive system
  • bad teeth

Over time, professional dog breeders do change how breeds look, including their size.

The first recognized Yorkshire Terrier, for example, was introduced to the American Kennel Club in 1872. At that time, the Yorkie weighed about 12 pounds; now the breed standard is 5 to 7 pounds.

Dogs that are smaller than they should be have 6 big drawbacks:

1. First, teacups have more health problems and are more sensitive to potential hazards around the house than ‘full size’ dogs of the same breed. A jump from the couch can break a leg. They often have chronic diarrhea.

2. A super small dog faces high risks if he needs an operation, even common neutering.

3. Very small dogs are harder to house train. Their bladders are that much smaller and owners say it takes at least 6 months to potty train a teacup.

4. Teacups normally need a lot of attention and can’t be left alone for a long period of time. They need food more often – 3 or 4 meals a day at least, and can be very high strung.

5. Teacups are unlikely to live as long as “full size” versions. Most toy dogs have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years but a teacup can live as short a life as just 5 or 6 years.


Hypoglycemia and Your Super-Small Dog


6.  Teacups are prone to Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar shock. This problem is a temporary one with any toy puppy until it grows to its full size, but with teacups that are under 5 pounds when full grown — they always at risk of this common yet very serious problem.

Hypoglycemia is caused because the small dog is not able to store enough energy (food) in its tiny digestive system. Any kind of stress can cause a drastic drop in blood sugar levels which can actually be fatal!

Causes for blood sugar dropping include:

  • stress
  • over-handling
  • shipping
  • not enough food
  • cold
  • intestinal parasites
  • infection

Most so-called “Teacup” puppies come from puppy mills, which spells heartbreak.

Avoiding a puppy mill dog